Strates Midway Show Brings Brand New Rides, Fun To New Harborfest Location

OSWEGO, NY – For the second year in a row, the James E. Strates Shows is bringing its unique carnival midway to the shores of Lake Ontario for the 29th annual Oswego Harborfest.

A company rich with 90 years of tradition and steeped in the folklore and magic of the festival and carnival atmosphere, they are one of the biggest attractions of the festival, for good reason.

Strates Shows, America’s only railroad carnival, travels the United States during a seven-month season, transporting personnel and equipment with 61 rail cars and 34 trucks.

Traveling with the show are some 400 employees and families who operate the rides, games, and concessions.

The company’s founder, Greek immigrant James E. Strates, came to America in 1909 and began his first show in 1923.

He continued to build and maintain the carnival until his death in 1959, at which time his son, E. James Strates, continued on his legacy into the present day.

Since 1959, the landscape of the carnival business has changed tremendously.

Strates Shows manages to stay ahead of the market by investing time and money into extensive research, and by investing in the newest and most advanced equipment in the industry.

The show and its legacy have been a fixture of Central New York for more than six decades, and continues on the grand tradition with its second trip to Harborfest.

This year, Strates Shows is utilizing over-the-road transportation exclusively for Harborfest, and will be providing 12 rides.

Three rides are new this year: the Cliffhanger, the Rockstar, and the Dreamwheel.

The Dreamwheel and the Rockstar are brand new rides the Strates Show has acquired since it last visited Harborfest in 2015.

The location of the show this year is also new: it has officially moved from Lake Street across from the Historic Maritime District to West First Street, in between West Schuyler and Lake streets.

It’s within easy walking distance to several festival venues including Breitbeck Park.

Rides will be priced at 3, 4, 5 and 6 tickets per ride.

Tickets will be available at an individual ticket price of $1 each.

There will be no advance sale of tickets or wristbands.

There will also be a one-price ride promotion Wednesday-Sunday, with the cost of the ride wristband being $20 per day on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and $25 on Saturday.

Executive Director Peter Myles said, “The Strates Shows has been a great addition to our festival. This is a company that is beloved by so many in our community, and we’re lucky to have them again this year. They bring an element of fun and excitement to the weekend, and this year’s new additions to their lineup is sure to be a hit with festival-goers!”

Harborfest is one of the few admission-free music festivals in the country.

It was founded with the mission of creating nationally recognized festivals and events that attract and engage a broad and diverse audience, celebrate and build community and advance economic development in Oswego.

It would not be possible to continue the event without the massive continued support received from the city of Oswego, businesses, organizations, government entities and individuals and family members.

To learn more about the James E Strates Shows, or Harborfest, visit or via phone at 343-6858.